Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS | 1st September 2021

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1.  It’s time to build BRICS better

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – International Relations
Sub Theme: BRICS | UPSC

Context: The 13th BRICS summit is set to be held on September 9 in digital format under India’s chairmanship.  India held the chair in 2012 and 2016 too. The importance of BRICS is self-evident: it represents 42% of the  world’s population, 30% of the land area, 24% of global GDP and 16% of international trade.

The difficulty stems from China’s centrality and dominance of intra-BRICS trade flows.

Promoting technological and digital solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals and expanding people to-people cooperation are the other two BRICS priorities.

Quote: S. Jaishankar, recently portrayed BRICS as a young adult, equipped with “thoughts shaped and a  worldview concretised, and with a growing sense of responsibilities.”

Jaishankar observed that the “counter-dominance instinct and principled commitment to multipolarity in all  forms” is “written into the DNA of BRICS.”

Suggestions of the author: 

  1. The first is to pursue reform of multilateral institutions ranging from the United Nations, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the World Trade Organization and now even the World Health Organization.
  2. The second is the resolve to combat terrorism.
  3. Diversification and strengthening of regional value chains
  4. Promoting technological and digital solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals and expanding people-to-people cooperation are the other two BRICS priorities.

About BRICS 

BRICS brings together five major emerging economies, comprising 43 percent of the world population, having  30 percent of the world GDP and 17 percent share in the world trade.

  • The acronym BRIC was first used in 2001 by Goldman Sachs in their Global Economics Paper. • BRIC started after the meeting of the leaders of Russia, India and China in St. Petersburg on the margins of G8 Outreach Summit in 2006.
  • The grouping was formalised during the first meeting of BRIC foreign ministers on the margins of UNGA in New York in 2006. The first BRIC Summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on June 16, 2009.
  • It was agreed to expand BRIC into BRICS with the inclusion of South Africa at the BRIC foreign ministers’ meeting in New York in September 2010.
  • The five BRICS countries are also members of G-20.

What are the objective of BRICS? 

  • Broader commitment to cooperate for strengthening multilateralism, the rule of law and equitable international order.
  • BRICS leader’s stress “the centrality of the rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading”, based on the World Trade Organisation.
  • BRICS managed to push for institutional reform which led to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) quota reform in 2010.

Major outcomes of BRICS Summit, 2019

  • Brasilia Declaration:

o BRICS reaffirmed commitment to helping overcome the significant challenges currently facing  multilateralism, as well as upholding the central role of the U.N. in international affairs and  respecting international law.

o BRICS criticised protectionism, blaming it for the global slowdown.

  • India @ BRICS summit:
  • ‘Fit India Movement.’: India called for communication and exchange between BRICS nations to increase in areas of fitness and health
  • Disaster resilient infrastructure: India requested BRICS nations and New Development Bank to join coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure.
  • India-Brazil:

o Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to  be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations in 2020.

o Brazil granted visa-free travel to Indian citizens.

  • India-China:

o President Xi thanked PM for India’s substantial participation in the just concluded China  Import Export Expo in Shanghai.

o The leaders reviewed preparations for celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment  of diplomatic relations between the two countries next year.

India-Russia 

o India and Russia decided to hold 1st Bilateral Regional Forum at the level of Russian Provinces  and Indian States next year to dismantle the barriers of trade at regional level.

o The USD 25 billion target of bilateral trade by 2025 has already been achieved. India has been  invited for investment in the Arctic region.

o Both countries reviewed the progress made in the field of Infrastructure particularly railways  in context of raising the speed of the Nagpur-Secunderabad sector railway line.

o Russia invited Indian PM to visit Russia in May for the Victory Day celebrations.

Significance of BRICS for India 

  • As the developing countries face an aggressive club of developed countries, raising challenges on issues from WTO to climate change, New Delhi believes BRICS has to protect the rights of the developing countries. 
  • Escaping Middle Income Trap: While China, India, and Brazil still have very large rural populations, they have made great strides in reducing poverty. Rapid progress in the emerging economies has contributed to growth in middle classes.
  • The BRICS cooperation has two pillars — consultations on issues of mutual interest through meetings of leaders and ministers, and cooperation through meetings of senior officials in areas including trade, finance, health, education, technology, agriculture, and IT.
  • Platform for proactive engagement with China & Russia: A BRICS helps in resolving some outstanding issues between China, Russia and India like the Doklam crisis.
  • India’s foothold in Latin America: In view of India’s growing demand for energy, Latin America’s richness in extractive resources offers a big avaenue. The India-Brazil association in emerging multilateral groupings such as the BRICS and IBSA can be leveraged in this regard.
  • Multilateralism, India has articulated a vision for strengthening and reforming the multilateral system itself.
  • Anti-terrorism efforts: India has taken the lead in galvanising BRICS has also worked within the grouping to take a strong stand against terrorism and bring about focused consultations on specific aspects relating to terrorism.
  • Non-alignment: Many in India see the BRICS forum as a continuation of the past attachment to non alignment and third worldism.
  • Will BRI undermine the BRICS grouping? Two of China’s main BRICS partners—Russia and India— harbor reservations about BRI, while for the other two members (Brazil and South Africa), it is not of such geo-political significance. India can use BRICS platform for critical review of BRI

Significance of BRICS in the world 

  • Building a multipolar world has been one of the central themes of India’s foreign policy. BRICS has been the main forum for the pursuit of that objective.
  • As a partnership that represents over 40% of the world’s population and accounts for 22% of global GDP, BRICS will continue to be an influential voice as long as its convergences prevail over its divergences.
  • South South Cooperation: BRICS is a club of Global South leaders and has potential to expand to other Asian, African and Latin American countries.
  • The New Development Bank (NDB) of BRICS: Compared to Western-dominated funding mechanisms like the World Bank, which on average take two years to approve loans, NDB is doing so in just six months and that too by disbursing in local currencies. The idea of development bank (NDB)  and Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA) has strengthen BRICS as a grouping.
  • Global governance: BRICS has been pushing for deep reforms in global governance. • BRICS has political benefits. It helps to soften worst-case scenarios stemming from bilateral bad blood. For example, the military face-off between India and China over the Doklam plateau was resolved partly owing to the BRICS summit in Xiamen.
  • All BRICS countries oppose Western economic sanctions, restrictions on international trade and migration of skilled personnel that would deprive them of export markets and revenues. • A revised globalisation chaperoned by BRICS, which includes democracies like India, South Africa and Brazil, is relatively credible.
  • Africa, BRICS Plus: The BRICS outreach to Africa began at the last summit hosted by South Africa, in 2013; it has picked up momentum now.

o Sino-Indian cooperation in Africa: Both India and China are engaged in oil exploration in Sudan  and Syria.

Economic crisis in BRICS 

  • Two of the largest economies in the grouping, China and India, are grappling with the issue of falling exports.
  • In the middle of a raging trade war with the US, China has seen a rapid drop in exports. • India is struggling similarly to propel merchandise exports.
  • Moscow, too, witnessed a fall of 4.8 per cent in exports in the first nine months of the calendar year. • With stalling growth, Brazil is contemplating the release of a comprehensive economic package to revive the private sector.
  • The IMF has cut South Africa’s 2019 economic growth forecast by 0.5 percentage points, from 1.2 per cent forecast in April to 0.7 per cent

Concerns: 

The critical question is whether BRICS’s exertions will have appreciable impact on G-7, the grouping of the  developed countries, which is in disarray, and particularly on the U.S. administration.

  • India has to maintain the balancing act between Russia-China on the one side and the US on the other.
  • BRICS is still far from achieving its initial goals: reform of global financial governance, democratisation of the United Nations, and expansion of the Security Council — partially because two of its members (China and Russia) do not want the other three members (India, South Africa and  Brazil) to obtain parity in the global pecking order.
  • Weak institutions and poor governance – each of the BRICS countries faces a unique set of challenges.
  • China’s dominance : China’s massive economic weight in the forum has meant the internal balance in the BRICS has changed in favour of Beijing.
  • Unclear nature of the group: BRICS is a non-regional grouping that has began as a bloc of emerging economies joining hands for economic purposes but is unable to commit to very many common goals like terrorism.
  • Anti-US stature: Moscow saw the BRICS as a way of creating political leverage against the United States and the West, Beijing saw it as an instrument to expand China’s own global economic influence. Delhi is now struggling to come to terms with China-led globalisation. 
  • India’s play with the BRICS while deepening the strategic partnership with QUAD: But India’s “multi alignment” has become harder as there are renewed tensions between global powers. • The new strategic warmth between Moscow and Beijing, and the willingness of both Russia and China to cut deals with the US (on their own terms), makes the BRICS less about ideological posturing, more about repositioning India in changing great power equations.
  • Brazilian President Bolsonaro, a hard core nationalist is not likely to be as involved with BRICS as his predecessors were.
  • Politically, these countries are not all on the same page : While India and Russia share historically close ties, India-China relations experience swing like a pendulum. Brazil is closer to the USA. • China’s plan for a “BRICS-Plus” or “Friends of BRICS” grouping: Chinese are planning to include Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Mexico to an expanded version of BRICS. The suggestion of including Pakistan  is something India has not liked.
  • Russia has moved closer to China and away from India; this could affect the group’s stand on issues like Afghanistan, on which BRICS members had previously been on the same page.

Way forward: 

  • The members of the BRICS grouping should speak with a stronger voice and not be divided among themselves on the critical issue of achieving the long-pending UN Security Council reform • India should stand up to China where necessary and cooperating with it where possible. • India should salvage the essence of the long-standing partnership with Russia but also recognise that Moscow has its own imperatives.
  • Promote more business with Brazil: Brazil-India trade stands at just US$ 7 billion as compared to US$ 100 billion with China.
  • India while deepening the strategic ties with Washington should also acknowledge BRICS’s sharp internal divisions and the enduring compulsions to find compromises with a rising China. • The current crop of BRICS leaders too are seen as strong personalities. India views this as a potential for cooperation, as the leaders have more in common than their predecessors. 
  • India and other BRICS nations should speed up on the path to economic recovery. BRICS nations need to focus on trade and investment as the Intra-BRICS trade is only 15% of the world trade. • Africa needs big loans from the New Development Bank (NDB) for their infrastructure projects, they should be expedited.

 

2.  In a first, nine SC judges take oath in one stroke

Syllabus: Mains: GS-II: Polity & Governance
Sub Theme: Appointment of Judges to Supreme Court | UPSC

The Centre has approved all nine names recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium for appointment  to Supreme Court (SC). The list includes three women judges, of whom Justice Nagarathna could go on to  become first woman Chief Justice of India.

Important Constitutional Provisions – JUDGE OF SC 

• Appointment – Article 124(2) – Every Judge of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by  the President by warrant under his hand and seal.

• Resignation – Article 124(2)(a) – A Judge may by writing under his hand addressed to  the President resign his office.

• Removal – Article 124(4) – A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his  office except by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of  Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of  not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting has been presented to  the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or  incapacity.

• Oath – Article 124(6) – A person appointed as Judge of Supreme Court shall make and  subscribe before the President, or some person appointed in that behalf by him, an oath or  affirmation according to the form set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule.

• Bar on Practicing – Article 124(7) – A person who has held office of Judge of SC shall  not plead or act in any court or before any authority within the territory of India.

What is a collegium? 

  • The Collegium System is one where the CJI and a forum of four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court recommend appointment and transfer of judges of higher judiciary.
  • The collegium system evolved through three different judgments which are collectively known as the Three Judges Cases.

Third Judges Case – (1999) – Re: Presidential Reference (Emergence of Collegium System) 

  • Supreme Court on a reference made by the President under Article 143 has laid down the following proposition with respect to appointment of Supreme Court judges

🡺 While making recommendation, CJI shall consult four senior most Judges of  Supreme Court. This led to the emergence of present Collegium System.

🡺 The opinion of all members of collegium regarding their recommendation shall be in  writing.

🡺 The views of the senior-most Supreme Court Judge who hails from the High Court from  where the person recommended comes must be obtained in writing for Collegium’s  consideration.

🡺 If majority of the Collegium is against the appointment of a particular person, that person  shall not be appointed.

🡺 Even if two of the judges have reservation against appointment of a particular Judge, CJI  would not press for such appointment.

🡺 A High Court Judge of outstanding merit can be appointed as Supreme Court Judge  regardless of his standing in the seniority list.

COLLEGIUM SYSTEM OF APPOINTMENT
Merits of Collegium  Demerits/Concerns of Collegium
• Ensures Independence of  

Judiciary as mandated in Article 50 – from interference of the Executive.

• Views of SC & HC Judges taken in  writing. 

• Prevalence of Majority  

Opinion favours democratic process of

appointment.

• Reservations of even two Judges  of Collegium taken seriously and halts  appointment process for doubtful

candidates.

• Allows talented lawyers from the  bar to be appointed as Judges of  

HC/SC.

• Lack of transparency and  

Accountability in the appointment process  – The decisions of the Collegium is published on  website of Supreme Court but does not  reveal: 

🡺 methodology or reasons provided for  transfer or promotion of judges;

🡺 ground to select senior lawyers for

appointment as Judges of SC or HC.

• Lack of Consensus among members of  Collegium results in delay or even reversal of  decisions at times.

• Nepotism – Accusations of favouritism and  preferential treatment to members from judicial  fraternity.

• Nepotism impacting Quality of  

Judgment – especially in High Courts.

• Politicization of judiciary: Lack of  transparency in selection criteria especially for  High Courts leads to politically motivated  appointments.

• Absence of Permanent  

Commission: Law Commission’s

121st Report proposed to set up a National  Judicial Service Commission for appointment of  Judges. Even NCRWC in its 2002 Report  highlighted the need for National Judicial  Commission for the purpose of appointments to  higher judiciary.

• SC declaring NJAC Act and Constitution  99th Amendment as unconstitutional.

NJAC Act Declared as Unconstitutional 

🡺 Violation of Basic Structure – Five Judge Bench of Supreme Court [4:1] declared the Constitution  99th Amendment Act and the National Judicial Appointment Commission Act,

2014 as unconstitutional as it violated the Basic Structure of the Indian Constitution. 🡺 Inclusion of Members of Executive – Constitution 99th Amendment introduced Article  124A which provided for the constitution and composition of the National Judicial Appointments  Commission (NJAC) which apart from members of Judiciary also included Union Minister of Law &  Justice and two Eminent Persons to be appointed by the Central Government.

🡺 Violation of Independence of Judiciary – SC held that Article 124A was insufficient to preserve  the primacy of the judiciary, in the matter of selection and appointment of Judges to the higher  judiciary as inclusion of members of executed violated independence of judiciary and the aspect of separation of powers. Accordingly, Article 124A (a) to (d) was set aside by the Constitution Bench as  being ultra vires.

🡺 Collegium System to Continue – The judgment officially allowed Collegium System for  appointment and transfer to continue.

Way Forward 

Till the time government comes up with legislation for National Judicial Appointment Commission, appointment  through Collegium system must be reformed by providing criteria for appointment of judges in the public  domain. This will help to improve transparency and accountability in the system of Collegium based  appointment for Judges.

 

3.  China opens first road-rail transport link to Indian Ocean

Syllabus: Mains: GS-II: International Relations
Sub Theme: First to link western China with the Indian Ocean | UPSC

Context: Chinese planners have been looking for outlet to the Indian Ocean for by passing Malacca strait.

In this regard, it has launched a new road-rail transportation channel to the Indian Ocean. It is being called the  China-Myanmar New Passage. 

 About: 

  • The transport corridor involves a sea-road-rail link. It includes:

Ship route for Goods arriving from Singapore reach Yangon Port, through the Andaman Sea of  the northeastern Indian Ocean.

o A road from Yangon Port connects to Lincang on the Chinese side of the Myanmar-China  border in Yunnan province.

o A railway line from the Myanmar border to the key commercial hub of Chengdu in western  China

  • This passage connects the logistics lines of Singapore, Myanmar and China, and is currently the most convenient land and sea channel linking the Indian Ocean with southwest China, as the one-way journey saves 20 to 22 days”.
  • The route is also “the first to link western China with the Indian Ocean”.
  • Plans are underway to develop Chin Shwe Haw as a “border economic cooperation zone” under the Belt. Chin Shwe Haw is a town where railway line currently ends in Lincang on the Chinese side opposite the Myanmar border.
  • The route goes through the Myanmar side and “is expected to become the lifeblood of international trade for China and Myanmar, while providing a source of income for Myanmar’s military regime”.
  1. China-Myanmar New Passage is transport corridor that connect China and Myanmar via
  2. a) Roadways
  3. b) Railways
  4. c) Waterways
  5. d) All of the above

Ans. D

China-Myanmar New Passage is a transport corridor that involves a sea-road-rail link.

4.  UNSC resolution addresses ‘key concerns’ on Afghanistan: India

UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS-II: International Relations
Sub Theme: Resolution on Afghanistan | UPSC

UNSC Resolution on Afghanistan  

India led resolution on Afghanistan has been passed at the UNSC. Two P5 nations Russia and China abstained  from voting.

  • It called on the Taliban to keep their commitments on preventing terror groups in Afghanistan and  urged them to assist the safe evacuations of all Afghan nationals wishing to leave the country • The resolution demands that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country or  to shelter and train terrorists and plan or finance terrorist attacks. It mentions individuals designated  by Resolution 1267, (which includes the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad)

Date: 01-Sep-2021 DNS Notes – Revision

  • Russia and China wanted all the groups, especially the Islamic State and the Uighur East Turkestan  Islamic Movement to be named specifically in the document, and listed a number of objections to the  drafting of the resolution.
  • They accused the U.S., the U.K. and France, the sponsors of the resolution, of having rushed it through  on a “tight schedule” while seeking to absolve the U.S. of responsibility, and distinguishing between  “their and our terrorists”.

Functions & Powers of UNSC:

  • The Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and  security and therefore takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of  aggression.
  • In case of a conflict, it calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and  recommends terms of settlement.
  • Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or  restore international peace and security.
  • It also recommends to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and, together  with the Assembly, to elect the Judges of the International Court of Justice.
  • It is authorised to establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its  functions.
  • While other organs of the United Nations make recommendations to member states, only the Security  Council has the power to make decisions that member states are then obligated to implement under  the Charter.

Composition of UNSC: 

  • Article 23 of UN Charter states that the Security Council shall consist of fifteen Members of the United  Nations. The Republic of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of  America shall be permanent members of the Security Council.  
  • The General Assembly shall elect ten other Members of the United Nations to be non-permanent  members of the Security Council, due regard being specially paid, in the first instance to the  contribution of Members of the United Nations to the maintenance of international peace and  security and to the other purposes of the Organization, and also to equitable geographical  distribution.
  • The non-permanent members of the Security Council shall be elected for a term of two years. A  retiring member shall not be eligible for immediate re-election.
  • Each year the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members (out of 10 in total) for a two year term.
  • The 10 non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis as follows:

✔ 5 seats for African and Asian States;

✔ 1 seat for Eastern European States;

✔ 2 seats for the Latin American and Caribbean States; and

✔ 2 seats for Western European and other States.

Issues in the functioning of UNSC –

The United Nations Security Council has several significant problems.  

  • First, the membership of the Security Council has changed very little since its inception in 1945, even though the number of UN member states has almost quadrupled since then and the relative power of member states has changed significantly. The only change in membership has been the addition of 4  non-permanent seats in 1965. African states call the under-representation of Africa a historical  injustice which needs to be corrected.
  • Second, the differences between permanent and non-permanent seats produce a highly unequal and inefficient Security Council. The five permanent members (P5) – Britain, France, United States, Russia and China – possess permanent seats and have the privilege of the veto whilst the status of non permanent members is low. Moreover, the P5 have on many occasions abused their veto powers.
  • Another important issue regarding the veto is that the decision probability in the Security Council remains very low. Although the formal, public use of the veto has decreased in the last few decades, this has mostly been caused by moving the activities of the Security Council behind closed doors  where threats of veto are made in private.
  • Most importantly, the performance of the Security Council in maintaining international peace and security has been poor. It failed in its actions in Somalia, Bosnia and Rwanda. In Somalia, the choice of strategy was counterproductive and Washington’s political timetable for the mission too arbitrary.  In Bosnia, the operation was severely undermanned and the Security Council failed to provide  adequate protection for the UN safe areas, resulting in the Srebrenica Massacre. In Rwanda, an  insufficient mandate and the Council’s refusal to strengthen the peacekeeping force once the  genocide began doomed the operation. Britain, the United States and France all actively avoided using  the term “genocide” to escape their responsibility to intervene. France actually supported the  Rwandan government and provided it with arms and ammunition even during the genocide.  Interventions in Iraq (2003) and Kosovo (1999) proceeded without Security Council approval.
  • More recently, the Security Council has failed to act to resolve crises in Crimea, Syria and Yemen. As a result, Nabil Elaraby – an Egyptian diplomat, a former Secretary General of the League of Arab States, and a former judge in the International Court of Justice – claims that the international protection  system enshrined in the UN Charter has ceased to exist. However, member states are not abandoning  the Security Council as is shown by its ever-increasing workload.
  • As a result of its shortcomings, reform of the Security Council has been deemed necessary. In 2009, some 140 member states requested to move on to text-based negotiations to pursue reform.

The Current Reform Proposals 

The current negotiation process is based on Decision 62/557 which was adopted in 2008.  It defines five key issues for reform: categories of membership, the question of the veto, regional  representation, the size of an enlarged Security Council and its working methods, and the relationship  between the Security Council and the General Assembly.

Decision 62/557 also stipulates that any solution must garner “the widest possible political acceptance”, although in 1998 the UN General Assembly already agreed that the support of two-thirds of UN member

states is sufficient. Yet even if these conditions are met any of the P5 will still be able to veto the final  resolution. For example, China and Russia have previously stated that reform should be based on a consensus  and not on a majority vote.

  • On the issue of reform, the UN member states are divided into several groups. Their positions on the most important questions, membership and the veto, are as follows.
  • First, the G4 consists of Germany, Japan, India and Brazil. The G4 mainly seek permanent seats for themselves, but are willing to forego their veto rights for fifteen years or possibly even longer.
  • Second, the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) consists of various states – including Italy, Spain, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, South Korea and Pakistan – which oppose the G4 and the addition of any new permanent seats. The UfC would instead add only non-permanent seats and preferably abolish the  veto or at least restrict its use.
  • Third, the African group consists of members of the African Union. It seeks two permanent and five non-permanent seats for Africa. The African group would preferably abolish the veto, but it insists that as long as the veto exists all permanent members should possess it.
  • The P5 are generally hesitant towards reform. Of the five, France and Britain are most open to reform. Whilst all permanent members accept the reform in principle, they have often fought popular reform proposals. For example, when in 2005 it seemed that the G4 and the African group might reconcile  their differences, China and Russia declared any reform to be out of the question and with the aid of  the United Stated started publicly gathering support to defeat the reform attempt. Similarly, in  2012 intense pressure from the permanent members forced a draft resolution on improving the  working methods of the Council to be abandoned.

The Four Major Flaws of Design 

There are four major flaws in the design of the Security Council which cause it to be dysfunctional and these  flaws are currently ignored in the reform process. The four flaws are: inequality, exclusiveness, rotating seats,  and representation. 

  • First, inequality results from the veto and from the difference between permanent and non permanent seats. As has been discussed earlier, the unequal design concentrates most of the power to the P5 who are then able to act in self-interest and ignore the rest of the UN. This means that even when there would be overwhelming support for the UN to act, a single member can make action  impossible.
  • Second, exclusiveness results from limiting the Council’s membership to a small portion of the total UN membership. This causes the Security Council to lack legitimacy, because it displays little awareness of the views under-represented regions, such as the Middle East or the Small Island  Developing States. Another example is Africa which is the subject of nearly 75 percent of the Council’s  work and the target of over 60 percent of all Security Council resolutions, but is severely under

represented. For example, in 2008 a draft resolution called for sanctions against Robert Mugabe and  his associates. The African Union was against sanctions, but had no say in either the draft resolution or  the result. The South African permanent representative summarised the problem in the following  way: “How can we have a situation in which other people are discussing what is happening on our  continent without our participation?”

  • Third, the system of rotating seats results in unpredictability and randomness because Security Council decision-making and agenda setting follow the interests of its members. For example, before the Rwandan genocide the government of Rwanda used its seat in the Council to gain information that  the United States was unwilling to intervene and during the genocide Rwanda used its seat to  spread misinformation. Rwanda was also supported by two other non-permanent members: Djibouti  and Oman. Had these seats been held by other states, the result would have likely been different.
  • Fourth, the system of single countries representing their respective regions does not work, because states are unwilling to represent and to be represented by others. Instead, states campaign vigorously to gain seats for themselves. As a case in point, the African group has been unable to  agree on the distribution of seats among its members even after more than a decade of negotiations.
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